Completing video games in 2020: my successes and failures – Reader’s Feature

A reader discusses all the games he’s beaten this year and the ones he’s given up on, as he tries fulfil his new year’s resolution of beating a game a month.

So at the beginning of the year I said to myself that I would aim to complete one game or expansion/DLC a month for the year. Last year I’m not sure I completed a single game to completion, other than Resident Evil 2.
It could be any game no matter how small or big and didn’t have to be 100% complete, as long as I finished the main storyline/quest. Here’s how I’ve got on so far.

I started off small by taking advantage of PlayStation Now and Game Pass, by playing through Journey and What Remains Of Edith Finch. I enjoyed both but feel that What Remains Of Edith Finch was better. I thought it had an intriguing premise and decent narrative. The only thing I would say is the ending felt a bit flat to me.

The first game I completed in the month was Luigi’s Mansion 3, which I had actually started playing in December but due to having to send my Joy-Con for fixing (the analogue stick became stuck – not drift for a change!) meant I was unable to play it for most of January. Luigi’s Mansion 3 is a great game and one of the standout games of recent years and a great combination of puzzling and inventive combat which is unique and unlike any other game I’ve played.

The other game I completed was Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. I’m a fan of the previous entries in the series, especially Uncharted 4, but for whatever reason didn’t find this all that great. I guess maybe it’s because they rehashed other set pieces and locations from previous games. I also think it might have been better to have Nadine rather than Chloe as the focus. I personally think Nadine is the more compelling and interesting character of the two.

After finishing Luigi’s Mansion 3 I traded it in for Zelda: Breath Of The Wild. I first got a Switch in 2017 but got rid of it and regretted that decision a bit. Thankfully, I managed to get one for free with a mobile phone contract just before Xmas. The first time round I played some Breath Of The Wild but it never really clicked. I think I just wandered around aimlessly not sure what the hell to do. This time however suddenly I got it. Go to a shrine, complete a puzzle, collect extra hearts. Beat a divine beast, level up.

I don’t know how the hell I managed to beat this game in a month. Taking the Switch to work and playing during my breaks helped. On the weekend subject of greatest gaming achievements, it’s surely up there. I still have nightmares about Thunderblight Ganon, it took me so many attempts.

I love this game now, it’s one of the best I’ve ever played. I even bought the DLC, which I hardly ever bother with because DLC is usually naff. However, I also completed The Champions Ballad in the same month and have also gone through the first stage of The Trial of the Sword, though god knows if I’ll ever complete it. I still struggle with Lynels and it took my numerous attempts to complete the first trial.

Someday I’ll go back and try and finish all the side quests, shrines and korok seeds but for now I’m happy waiting till the sequel, satisfied to have vanquished Calamity Ganon and the divine beasts.

In April I managed to pick up Resident Evil 2 and The Last Of Us. I think I only completed Resident Evil 2, however, as I was still trying to get a few more shrines under my belt in Breath Of The Wild. I’ve actually played Resident Evil 2 last year but got rid of the game and since it was dirt cheap thought I’d play it again. This time round I picked Claire rather than Leon. It’s a fantastic remake and improves on the original, which I also enjoyed playing as a teen.

The graphics are top notch and the over the shoulder view adds another element to things. I only wish they had tweaked the various scenarios more. I started another playthrough after my first run and it was way too similar to keep my interest for long, especially knowing all the puzzles and most of the enemy encounters.

The next game I completed was The Last Of Us and the DLC Left Behind. The Last of Us was a game I have played before but wanted to replay it before the sequel. It still remains, in my view, the most well executed and satisfying video game narrative there has ever been. It’s very rare, if ever, that a video game manages to hold its own when compared to TV or film but manages to do so in my opinion. But don’t take my word for it, Empire magazine said it would have made the Top 10 list for the year if it was a film.

The game gets a bit of a bashing at times for its uninspired gameplay but although it hardly reinvents the wheel, I think it’s still a well-crafted game. It still looks exceptional and for someone who struggles at times with stealth in video games I find this element more accessible than other games.

The Last Of Us: Left Behind was also very good, possibly the best DLC I’ve ever played. There are some good character beats during the quieter moments and the more relaxed pace during the mall section provides some of the series’ lighter moments, such as the water pistol fight and throwing bricks at the cars. I also think playing as Ellie adds a new dimension to the gameplay. Pitting two sets of enemies against each other and then picking off the survivors one by one is satisfying, especially when pinging a perfectly flighted arrow into a runner’s torso.

So far this month I have completed Bioshock Infinite for the switch. I’ve played it before and it still holds up pretty well, I think. I aim to play through the DLC and the other two games before the year is out. I’ve also started to play Ratchet & Clank for the PlayStation 4 after being inspired after watching the trailer for the soon to be PlayStation 5 game. I am about two-thirds of the way through and will probably finish this before the end of the month. I am pretty impressed so far. There’s a good variation of things to do such as rail-grinding, jetpacks, platforming, and shooting varied and weird weapons and puzzles.

The rest of 2020
So I’ve bought Horizon Zero Dawn for only five quid off the CDKeys website. It was a code that works on the USA/Canada PSN store so was a little bit of a pain setting up a US account, but worth it for the price and I plan to start the game soon. I also plan to give Infamous: Second Son a try since I bought it ages ago for about a fiver. I also might play Marvel’s Spider-Man again before the spin-off arrives on PlayStation 5. mostly though I intend to play through The Last Of Us Part 2. I know I’m getting it for my birthday in August and have even managed to play a few hours so far and can’t wait to get back at it.

So unfortunately my gaming resolution hasn’t gone entirely to plan and there’s a few games I might not finish.

First is Animal Crossing: New Horizons which I bought on release day. I hadn’t bought a new game in a while and after the rave reviews thought I’d give it a whirl. It’s just not for me. The whole game just seems like busy work. Like the bits of other games that you plod through just to pick up a trophy or attain 100%. It didn’t take long to realise it wasn’t for me.

I’ve also started The Witcher 3 for the Switch. I’ve tried this game before on the Xbox and didn’t really get into it. However, I thought since I changed my mind about Zelda: Breath Of The Wild I might appreciate this game more now. Also, the added bonus of portability might make it easier to play. I did enjoy the game at first but slowly became disillusioned by the frankly confusing amount of ingredients that despite picking everything in sight never seem to be enough to make a potion.

Also, although the game has some interesting side characters, such as the Bloody Baron, and entertaining side quests I find Geralt himself kinda one-dimensional and generic. I think if the game was 10-20 hours long I might persevere but I don’t know if I’m invested enough to plough another who knows many hours into it when I’m only just in Skellige.

I’ve also resigned myself to perhaps never finishing Red Dead Redemption 2. I started playing this via Game Pass but plan to sell my Xbox One as soon as possible to raise funds for the PlayStation 5 later in the year (hopefully).

The game has a lot of things going for it. The graphics are possibly the best this generation. The attention to detail is second to none and Rockstar always create some of the best settings, with unique and diverse landscapes. The dead eye feature is also great fun, wish it was a bit less reliant on the player topping up the dead eye core so often.

However, I just don’t know if I’m engaged enough to finish. I’ve put like at least 15 to 20 hours into the game and am not even halfway through. It’s not a bad game by any means but it’s painfully slow at times. Every mission seems to be slow trot to one area whilst character prattles on about Dutch. Faster trot to another. Shoot some bad guys. Trot back to camp.

So there you have it, my six months of 2020 in gaming.

By reader matc7884

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